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B2B Brands Using Social Media | Social Media Today

Go where the people are and engage them.  Simple as that.  This article had six great points about how B2B brands can use Social Media.  First one was the best, we had to share here. Tell a story, share a victory, make us care, or tell us about what good you’re doing in the world but engage us as humans and we’ll remember you and love you forever.  Article from Social Media Today follows:

Go where the people are and give them a reason to engage

The marketing mantra – go where your audience is – isn’t just for B2C brands. Business leaders are people too. They use social networks, comment on posts and share interesting content. And really, that is the key. B2B brands can use (and have used) social media to attract people’s attention. Maybe they’ve told a story, or set a challenge to overcome.

With social media, a whole world of engaging content is open to B2B companies. It’s not just about cold calling and promotional leaflets anymore. There are dozens of B2B businesses, large and small, that are excelling at social media marketing. To be successful, each one has had to plan every campaign thoroughly. What would a win look like? Did they have the resources to create and run the best campaign possible, and to deal with a spike in site traffic or new business?

These are just some of the questions that need answers before a business launches a social campaign, because if it strikes a chord, the results can be mind-blowing.

via B2B Brands Using Social Media | Social Media Today.

Pretty cool article below about how Tim Ferriss mentored a business and helped them get started.  The best thing from the whole article though is what Tim coined the “Quad Bomb” in order to get a response to email.  I’ve shared the email he wrote for the wholesale businesses and his quad bomb technique below.  Enjoy!

And here’s the email for online retail stores:

Subject line: Best person to talk with for new climbing gear?

Hey John <store owner>,

Fan of your store and the fact your founder and I both do jewelry making 🙂

Noticed you didn’t have any belay glasses, which are becoming super popular with climbers.

Love to see if this makes sense for your store. Other climbing stores are seeing promising results with it.

How’s this Thursday 4pm CST for a quick 7-minute call to see if this makes sense for your store?

Belay on,

Daniel Bliss

http://www.belayshades.com

 

To actually get a response, I had Daniel use what I call the quad-bomb:

1. Search their name on LinkedIn. Send them a connect request as a friend with a CUSTOM message. “Hey <first-name>, Huge fan of your business and wanted to talk about some cool products for your customers.”

2. Email them.

I wait a day here as to NOT annoy them. If they don’t respond, then proceed to 3 and 4.

3. Facebook message them with: “Hey, just wanted to make sure my message got through”.

4. Tweet them. “Hey @twitter-handle. Love to see if we make some magic together. What’s best email for you?”

Why so many channels?

1. So many people are lazy and don’t put the effort in. You get out what you put in.

2. Sometimes people get busy, so your email may just get buried at the bottom of their inbox.

One of the key things that I drilled into Daniel’s head is to have a follow-up time with ANY person you are trying to work with. I use the line, “I have my calendar open, how’s X time to check in?”

Also I use followup.cc as a great free service to get reminders via email.

via How to Create a $4,000 Per Month Muse in 5 Days Plus: How to Get Me As Your Mentor.

Love this article on Personas and how we’re using them today.  We could do so much better.

The Art Of Personas

WHAT DO CUSTOMERS REALLY WANT?

World Congress of Play

The concept of personas is at an odd crossroads right now. For a variety of reasons, the need to develop personas is at an all-time high for both B2B and B2C organizations alike. Simultaneously, there’s this bubbling (and baffling) idea that simply developing personas is a silver bullet to hitting the mark every time.

These are our two key takeaways directly from “The State of the Art of Personas,” a February 2013 Forrester Research report that’s worth reading by any organization that wants to ensure that it’s not simply guessing and hoping about what its customers need. The author, Senior Analyst Jonathan Browne, says: “Recently, shortsighted firms have wrongly dismissed personas as passé. But firms need tools for sharing customer understanding now more than ever. That’s because design challenges have become more complex than ever, spanning the channels and business silos that customers pass through on their journeys.”

Browne is right on the money. As we learned from our work with one of the world’s largest insurance companies, customers’ personas change as their needs change throughout their journey. For example, our policyholder interviews identified two major personas: one representing individuals more self-directed, price-sensitive and interested in the insurer’s online tools for selecting and managing policies, and a second with a preference for working more directly with the insurer’s agent.

But our research also revealed that customers’ personas morphed as insurance needs changed. For example, we found that the self-directed and price-sensitive persona quickly preferred the assistance of an insurance agent when faced with larger and more complex product purchases and use situations. Why the switch? Major events such as a totaled car or the biggest purchase of a lifetime prompted them to seek new types of sales and support channels that better met their needs at that moment.

Those kinds of insights were key for helping the insurance company empathize with its customers—to the point that it’s now better able to meet their needs even as they evolve. We cemented that empathy by putting faces on each persona via life-size cardboard cutouts rather than simply providing a slide deck with bullets describing their attributes.

Empathy is key for ensuring that clients actually use their persona research on a daily basis rather than simply tacking it to their cubicle walls and forgetting about it. It’s equally important to keep the client stakeholders in the loop every step of the way.

As Forrester’s report explains, Manifest “used a standard set of presentation materials to inform stakeholders about progress in the persona development process, explain the research approaches being used, and outline the next steps. This helped stakeholders understand the multiphase approach to developing personas and provided input from the perspective of the business. An advantage to this participatory approach is that stakeholders have confidence in the validity of personas when the time comes to use them.”

ProgressReportPersonas

Although personas are often pigeonholed as a B2C strategy, they’re equally valuable for B2B. If we look at our work with telecom and cloud computing providers, we see a pretty diverse group of personas: The CFO, for instance, will focus on how cloud computing enables the company to shift its infrastructure from a CapEx to OpEx model, while the CIO is interested in whether the cloud incurs tradeoffs in reliability and security. Personas are key for understanding the needs of each type of person who specifies, evaluates and authorizes a major purchase, as well as their expectations about support after the sale.

Ultimately, personas are the starting point in a journey toward products, services, sales channels, kiosks, mobile apps and everything else that businesses provide to their customers. And the best personas provide the deep, actionable insights that inspire companies to come up with innovative ways to address their customers’ motivations and frustrations.

Dig deeper into personas with Brian Winters’s Webinar, “Real-Time Personas” on October 22nd. Click here to register!

Jason is a crazed evangelist for user experience design, accosting strangers with sermons on its value in solving business and social problems. He’s a leader in the experience design practice at Manifest Digital, Co-Founder of UX for Good, and serves as an adjunct faculty member in the HCI Masters program at DePaul University.

via The Art Of Personas | Manifest Digital.

 

What is strategy?  What is social strategy?  What is digital strategy?  I’m asked this at least once a week, and my usual response, “I know, right!” Tough terms to define, but more so to understand the expectations in the person’s head asking the question. Great strategy is understanding your expectations, and working to at least achieve them, if not to exceed them.

Good subject matter today though, with the turn of the interwebs. In a book called The Big Rich By Brian Burrough about the turn of the 20th century, the drilling of “Spindle Top”, the discovery of oil in Texas there is the discovery of resources then the creation of wealth so vast and enormous that they began to define politics, education and business.  I keep having flashes to the monumental shifts that are occurring in business right before our very eyes.  Major shifts in the music industry, book publishing, news, technology, communication and more have occurred in the last fifteen to twenty years similar to the shifts at the turn of the century around energy, ie. oil, then production of cars, and on to the obsolesce of horses as a mode of transportation.

Ford Cars, assembly line

Ford cars on an assembly line

In this mix of business models and investments, we easily lose sight of the goal.  Truly helping people.  We worry so much today about buzzwords and disruption that I feel like we put the cart before the horse.

I think the #1 point to any strategy is putting the customer first.  Starting with this, you can center all interactions, sales, marketing and promotion around the experience the customer has.  First reviewing, then refining, then optimizing and reworking the process.  Customer experience is definitely a journey and not a destination.  It’s about putting the customer at the center, creating human interactions and moving in a manner that is honest, respectful and beneficial.

 

 

Just because this is a time of transformation doesn’t mean that it’s easy to sell transformational ideas. Economic uncertainty has reduced the audience for bold, grand rhetoric. Besides, even in boom times innovation is risky. Innovators often have to ease anxieties by sounding conservative while doing something radical.

We all want breakthroughs; it’s just that we can’t know exactly which of the bold new ideas will break through. For every Mustang, there’s an Edsel. For every flip phone, there’s a flop. (Apple’s track record — iPod, iTunes, iPhone — is extraordinary but atypical.) It’s is also hard to get traction for ideas that are so far ahead of their times that the infrastructure or human habits do not yet support them. For every dream of cheap renewable energy, there’s the reality of still-high costs of wind turbines or solar panels.

As many technology companies have seen to their peril, you can leap much too far into the future by seeking revolution, not evolution, leaving potential users in the dust. But steady progress — step by single step — can win internal support and the external race for share of market or share of mind. Especially if you take each step quickly.

Consider Woody Allen’s comedy routine about the first landing of UFOs on Earth and our first contact with an advanced civilization (AKA advanced competitor). Allen wrote that most worries about planetary takeovers involve aliens that are light years away and centuries ahead of us in technology, bringing devices we can’t understand or communicate with, which enables them to control everything. Not to worry, Allen said. If we can’t understand or communicate with their systems, we’ll just ignore them, doing our work the way we always do until they leave in frustration. Instead, he argued, the advanced civilization that we should really worry about is one that is just 15 minutes ahead. That way they’d always be first in line for the movies, they’d never miss a meeting with the boss… and they’d always be first in every race.

Call this the “15 minute competitive advantage”: changing in short fast bursts rather than waiting for the breakthrough that transforms everything. If every proverbial 15 minutes, you learn something and incorporate it into the next speedy step, you’ll continue to be ahead. And a few time periods later, transformation will be underway.

Scott Cook, founder of Intuit, praised the value of cheap, fast experiments at a recent CEO meeting. He recalled watching Toyota’s method of continuous improvement on the shop floor: simplifying, speeding, and taking costs out with each round. Bolt instead of weld, tape instead of bolt, hold instead of tape. Cook’s advice is to turn business concepts into hypotheses to test fast. This is the essence of rapid prototyping, and it doesn’t require total transformation.

Stay a little ahead of the competition while close enough to what customers can understand and incorporate, and the innovation idea is easier to sell. Here are some characteristics of innovations most likely to succeed at gaining support:

Trial-able: The idea or product can be demonstrated on a pilot basis. Customers can see it in action first and incorporate it on a small scale before committing to replace everything.

Divisible: It can be adopted in segments or phases. Users can ease into it, a step at a time. They can even use it in parallel with current solutions.

Reversible: If it doesn’t work, it’s possible to return to pre-innovation status. Eventually you want life to be unimaginable without it, but at least in theory, it’s possible to go back to zero.

Tangible: It offers concrete results that can be seen to make a difference in something that users need and value.

Fits prior investments: The idea builds on “sunk costs” or actions already taken, so it looks like not much change is involved.

Familiar: It feels like things that people already understand, so it is not jarring to use. It is consistent with other experiences, especially successful ones.

Congruent with future direction: It is in line with where things are heading anyway. It doesn’t require people to rethink their priorities or pathways, even though of course it changes things.

Positive publicity value: It will make everyone look good.

These principles leave plenty of room to promote revolutionary ideas under cover of evolutionary change. But to find and grow a market for anything — whether green products or new health delivery plans — means staying close to what users can adopt easily and then leading them to the next iteration.

Innovators who take risks must reduce the risk for others. Think long-term trends but short-term steps —15 minutes at a time.

More blog posts by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

More on: Change management, Innovation, Managing uncertainty

ROSABETH MOSS KANTER

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a professor at Harvard Business School and the

author of Confidence and SuperCorp. Her 2011 HBR article, “How Great Companies Think Differently,” won a McKinsey Award for best article. Connect with her

on Facebook or at Twitter.com/RosabethKanter.

via Find the 15-Minute Competitive Advantage – Rosabeth Moss Kanter – Harvard Business Review.

Kevin Spacey

Double-Oscar winner Kevin Spacey at a rehearsal before delivering the keynote speech to the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh television festival on Thursday Aug. 22, 2013. Spacey says television has overtaken cinema as the home of quality character-driven drama, but the industry risks failure if it doesn’t recognize that viewers want control over what they watch, and when. (AP Photo/ David Cheskin/PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

LONDON (AP) — Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey says television has overtaken cinema as the home of quality character-driven drama, but the industry risks failure if it doesn’t recognize that viewers want control over what they watch, and when.

Spacey told the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Thursday that the success of his political thriller “House of Cards” — released in a single burst of 13 episodes on video streaming service Netflix earlier this year — showed that viewers “want freedom.”

“If they want to binge — as they’ve been doing on ‘House Of Cards’ — then we should let them binge,” he said.

Spacey is the first actor invited to deliver the festival’s keynote speech — an invitation he attributed to the success of “House of Cards'” innovative distribution model and television’s creative renaissance.

“Frankly, 15 years ago I wouldn’t have been up here lecturing you because my agent would never have allowed me to even consider being on a television series after winning an Oscar,” said Spacey, who won Academy Awards for performances in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty.”

He said shows like “The Wire,” ”Dexter” and “Breaking Bad” proved television had taken over from the movies in terms of sophisticated storytelling, but argued that that this “golden age” was at risk if the industry did not respond to the ways new technology, the Internet and social media had changed viewing patterns.

“We no longer live in a world of appointment viewing,” he said. “So the water cooler has gone virtual, because the discussion is now online.

“Studios and networks who ignore either shift — whether the increasing sophistication of storytelling, or the constantly shifting sands of technological advancement — will be left behind,” he added.

Spacey said the critical and commercial success of “House of Cards” ”demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn — give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it.”

In another event at the festival Friday, Spacey said that movie producers could adopt a similar approach to help beat piracy, releasing films simultaneously online, in cinemas and on DVD.

Spacey said that “would be a huge bite out of piracy because if it’s all available nobody is going to be stealing it before someone else gets it.”

Spacey is currently filming a second series of “House of Cards,” on which he is an executive producer. He also is artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre.

___

Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

via Spacey says TV must adapt to viewer demand or die.

Anne Pascual

Anne Pascual is a design director at IDEO, Munich. In addition to her role at the design and innovation consultancy she speaks about early stage innovation, user experience design, design research and much more. She will be speaking at Wired Money on 1 July.

Wired.co.uk: What does design have to do with finance, money and banking?

Anne Pascual: Finance, money and banking are a part of daily life, amongst many other things we all need to juggle and balance, which can often create tensions and friction. Whether we like it or not, we constantly need to make decisions. With regards to money, those decisions are mostly about value exchange. Dealing with this on a day-to-day basis is complex, and design can help solve many associated pain points and challenges. That said, I believe design can not only enable people to handle their finances in an easier way — but also lessen the time they spend dealing with money so they can focus instead on the things they really care about.

“If you look at the disruptors of the industry, their focus on user experience has been a critical competitive advantage”

Is this an area where the sector has traditionally fallen down?

Financial institutions traditionally have been focused on performance to establish their reputation, from performance of financial transactions to performance of financial products. This value proposition hasn’t radically changed much over time. Take risk life insurance as an example. When invented 150 years ago, it was a pretty innovative idea. But today, a 30-year life insurance policy is not adapting to or solving peoples’ needs in today’s economy who might move to different countries and change jobs more frequently.

Additionally, the vast majority of financial institutions have been built and optimised around products and individual channels, not around holistic user experiences. This is where technology has a role to play. If you look at the disruptors of the industry, their focus on user experience — enabled by data and technology — has been a critical competitive advantage.

In an ideal world would a company like IDEO be irrelevant? Shouldn’t all businesses have an understanding of design?

To me, design is an approach for dealing with complexity. In today’s unpredictable world, it’s in everyone’s interest that more and more people and businesses leverage design to deal with the unknown, to understand how to learn and experiment (including interpreting customer feedback) and to create unique experiences that delight people — which is not a trivial thing. There is no single recipe on how to do it.

When working with organisations, large and small, I’ve seen IDEO’s role as an amplifier, catalyst and accelerator of innovation, enabling organisations to gain an understanding of design and make it a core competence by building and launching new, meaningful products and services. That’s positive impact. Because of constant change in the world, whether driven by business, technology or consumer behaviours, I’d argue that design may even become a more important skill and mind-set in the future.

“Most ‘classic’ areas surrounding money have been recently questioned and are being reassembled”

You specialise in user experience in the digital space. Are we still learning how to best engage users digitally?

New behaviours keep emerging through new technologies, and vice versa, as has always been the case. This is an ongoing source of inspiration for me personally and for the design teams at IDEO.

I do think that solving a real problem means focusing on engagement. Turning a problem into a pleasant, delightful and maybe even rewarding experience is a pretty complex task, which we at IDEO tend to approach through continuous iteration and prototyping.

Prototyping helps prove your assumptions about new behaviours you want to enable have been right. Digital technology makes you learn much faster from people’s behaviours — what works and what doesn’t when designing a novel user experience. So many times, we like to confuse technology with the solution, but many times it’s simply the tool providing the options that create new value.

What areas surrounding money do you see as ripe for disruption?

Most “classic” areas surrounding money have been recently questioned and are being reassembled, such as budgeting, saving, lending, investing, payment and insurance. We are seeing new types of bank appear, as well as new currencies — which is quite exciting. In addition, I’d keep looking out for three things: game changers, “human financials” and banks as platforms:

First, game changers. If you start considering and designing around the social nature of value systems, you may see how new dynamics will disrupt established markets and landscapes. Look at Kickstarter or Kiva, for instance, or any examples of collaborative consumption or skill sharing.

Second, human financials. This to me is about addressing and leveraging behavioural economics when dealing with money.

Finally, banks as platforms. Once banks see themselves operating as platforms that serve not only end consumers but third party service providers, they may be able to scale their impact and business in new ways. Amazon, but really any service with an API, is thinking and operating in that way.

Anne Pascual will be appearing at Wired Money, on 1 July, 2013. Tickets are on sale now: see wired.co.uk/money13 for a full speaker list and further information. Wired subscribers receive a 10 percent discount.

via Banks need to focus on user experience says IDEO design director Anne Pascual (Wired UK).